“Belize” by Christiana Bredbenner

I pine

for the warm sun on my shoulders

in a whole new place

different from any I’ve ever known

as an adventure opens up before me.

For stepping into unfamiliar trees

and hearing a lilting language

different from any I’ve ever heard

as new creatures swing, call, and crawl around me.

I pine

for the sound of wildlife in the night

and rain on the rooftop

as I lay in the top bunk of a bunk bed

excited to see a new day in the morning.

For climbing steep stone steps with no railing

up and up, don’t look down

until you can see the view from 131 feet up

and can see for miles.

I pine

for the feeling of stepping into another world

beautiful and wondrous

as a sacred hush surrounds me

and the stone walls silently breathe and grow.

For the smell of sweetly perfumed night air

from the scent of beautiful flowers growing

and stars burning beautifully overhead

glowing brightly in the sky.

I pine

for mud sliding under my feet

and a steep trail leading up

to a beautiful pool where a waterfall cascades

and the water is azul blue.

For the rush of gliding through the trees

my gloved hand sliding on the line behind me

and I let out a yell of joy

because I might be flying.

I pine

for the feel of cool paint between my fingers

as I smear it into the wood board

literally painting by hand

wondering how many people will see these signs.

For the sweat pouring down my face

as we hike another steep trail

and reach the top of four kilometers

to gaze out over beautiful mountains.

I pine

for a bumpy boat ride to an island

and I can’t stop laughing for joy

as spray leaps up and around us

and the wind whips my hair off my face.

For stepping onto a sandy shore

with rustic buildings and tropical palm trees

with the sky so blue above

and realizing I’ve stepped into paradise.

I pine

for the gentle breeze on my back

the sounds of laughter as a ball soars over a net

the taste of warm coffee and cold fruit juice

and the sweetness of a tropical fruit spread in the morning.

For the strain of my muscles

pushing against a paddle

as we kayak out to discover

a new underwater world.

I pine

for the feeling of water over my body

as I dive down to the submerged city

gazing around at its surreal beauty

and swimming amongst a school of little fish.

For the shared jokes, laughing, joking around

the quiet moments shared

between new friends and old

as we kick back on island time.

I pine

for the feel of my hair being tightly braided

the sound of drums, and dancing

as we all come together to learn about a culture

and for one night are all bound as one family.

For the sight of a burning sky

deep red, tangerine orange, bright yellow

as the fiery ball sinks behind a distant shore

so quickly, and all at once.

I pine

for the place that has stolen my heart.

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